I went to a foster care placement at age 13 because my mom was schizophrenic and blind. She couldn’t take care of me. My dad is on probation in Ohio. I call him sometimes. My tattoo C.R.E.A.M.? It stands for ‘Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” I was living with my grandma and aunt, and then they got inspected and I was taken from them. My mother used to say certain groceries were poisoning food. We couldn’t go into certain grocery stores. She thought that I was inviting friends over to beat her up and urinate and take craps on the bed. She was completely delusional, but she has no therapist and she doesn’t take drugs.

She thought that I was inviting friends over to beat her up and urinate and take craps on the bed.

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I have one sister. She lives in Las Vegas. The first time I was in foster care the foster mom has 2 real sons and 3 foster kids. I stayed there 2 years, until I was 15, and kicked out for misbehavior. I went to another foster home in Paramount. After six months, I AWOLed. Then I went to a group home in the Valley. It was a six-month for probation and foster kids combined. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood; it wasn’t lockdown. There was a therapist every week. We would have 2-hour group meetings. They got really boring and repetitive. They would want you to do this shit—“creative visualization.” When I get out I want to go to Santa Monica CC.

-L.E., age 17

**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited for content.

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